By Cletus Ukpong
The 2018 ranking on terrorism is out and Nigeria, for the fourth consecutive year, occupies the third position among the countries worst hit by terrorism, globally, because of the activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen.
Apart from 2014 when it was ranked fourth, Nigeria has remained in the unenviable third position in the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranking since 2015.
In the latest report released on Wednesday, Iraq, a country in the Middle-East, is ranked first, a position it has held since 2014.
Afghanistan has ranked second since 2013.
Syria and Pakistan are ranked fourth and fifth respectively.
Others among the top 10 countries worst hit by terrorism in 2017 are Somalia (sixth), India (seventh), Yemen (eighth), Egypt (ninth), and Philippines (10th).
The good news, however, is that there has been a reduction in the number of deaths caused by terrorism in Nigeria in 2017, just like the other three preceding years, according to the report
“When compared to the peak of terrorist deaths in 2014, the largest falls in the number of deaths occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan, with falls of 6,466, 5,950, and 912 deaths respectively,” said the 2018 GTI report.
The report said deaths from terrorism in Nigeria fell to 1,532 in 2017, a decrease of 16 per cent from the prior year.
There were 63 per cent and 34 per cent drop in deaths in the country in 2016 and 2015 respectively, according to the report.
“This highlights the effectiveness of the counter-insurgency operations undertaken in Nigeria and its neighbours, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad,” the report said, adding that the world has also experienced a drop in deaths from terrorism in 2017.
The GTI, while analysing global trends in terrorism in 2017, described the reduction in deaths in Nigeria and Iraq “the most dramatic”.
Boko Haram attacks, the report said, have substantially reduced in Chad and other neighbouring countries; and Al-Shabaab, in 2017, overtook Boko Haram as the deadliest terror group in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The GTI report raised concern over the killings by herdsmen, saying terrorism was shifting from Nigeria’s North-east region to the country’s Middle-Belt.
“In Nigeria in 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in violence involving Fulani extremists even as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling,” the report said.
“In 2018 alone, deaths committed by nomadic Fulani herders are estimated to be six times greater than the number committed by Boko Haram.
“In 2017, 327 terrorism deaths across Nigeria and Mali were reportedly committed by Fulani extremists, along with 2,501 additional deaths in the three years prior with the vast majority of these deaths being civilians.
“While deaths (killings) committed by Fulani extremists decreased following the peak of 1,169 deaths in 2014, violence from the group in 2018 is expected to surpass that peak. Nearly 1,700 violent deaths have been attributed to the Fulani Ethnic Militia from January to September 2018. An estimated 89 per cent of those killed were civilians,” the report said.
According to the report, two, out of 20 most fatal terrorist attacks, occurred in Nigeria.
One was on March 20, 2017, when assailants identified as “Fulani extremists” opened fire at a market in Zaki Ibiam, Benue State, killing 73 people.
The other was on July 25, 2017, when Boko Haram terrorists opened fire on a Frontier Exploration Services team convoy at Jibi, killing 60 people.
The GTI, which is in its sixth edition, is produced annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank with offices in Sydney, New York, and Mexico City.
The GTI monitores and measures the impacts of terrorism in 163 countries, which covers 99.7 per cent of the world’s population.
The GTI uses total number of terrorist incidents, total number of fatalities caused by terrorists, total number of injuries caused by terrorists, a measure of the total property damage from terrorist incidents in a given year to arrive at its ranking.